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The biggest reason people fail at diets, according to a dietitian

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-diets-fail-dietitian-expert-how-to-stick-to-diet-2017-8

businessinsider.com

The biggest reason people fail at diets, according to a dietitian
The act of "going on a diet" usually works in the short term, but rarely lasts. Oftentimes, people gain the weight they lost back soon after "going off" their diet. So why do diets fail? Business Insider reached out to registered dietitian Whitney Stuart of Whitness Nutrition about the problem.

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Diets are based on less

The whole concept of a diet is backwards, because in most cases, what society thinks of as a "diet" is based on the idea of less.

The idea of deprivation, ingrained in many diets, gives us control over a situation in the short term. It doesn't become a habit,  and 10 days — maybe two weeks — later, we see that deprivation rebound when self-control finally dwindles.

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How to stick to a diet

Make small but sustainable changes, stay away from anything extreme, and build up small changes over time. 

Most people would rather have a horrible 10 days of a raw, low-carb, no salt, no sugar, no water diet and return to their old habits than really have to address that $150 Frappuccino bill they're racking up each month.

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Make a slow change

  • Instead of jumping straight to a vegan diet, commit to two handfuls of veggies at every dinner meal, at least three days a week first. The slower change will make it more likely to last.
  • Instead of a 21-day sugar "cleanse," try to slowly wean yourself off of all six pumps of vanilla in your 'breakfast latte' and eventually, make yourself some eggs at home.
  • Instead of jumping on the paleo diet trend, just clean out all the processed and packaged snacks and replace them with sliced carrots, celery, and bell peppers.

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Body rebellion

Drastic or too-strict diets can trigger mood swings, headaches, physical and mental fatigue, irritability, digestive upset, and brain fog...

Hunger

Chronic hunger generally indicates that your diet is imbalanced or inadequate, which can cause your body to conserve energy and resist weight loss.

Include healthy foods that boost satiety and keep you fuller longer, namely those high in lean protein (organic eggs, poultry, fish, beans and lentils), fiber (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, lentils), and good fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive and coconut oils). 

Cravings

Trying to be "perfect" week after week typically leads to feelings of deprivation, resentment, even anger or depression, and culminates in either binge eating, or diet abandonment.

Ditch the "all or nothing" mentality. In that mindset, one small diet deviation triggers thoughts like, "Well, I blew it, I might as well go all out!" which keeps you stuck. Allow yourself small splurges in ways that reduce the chance of overeating.

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People struggle to keep weight off

Researchers have observed weight regain following weight loss across a range of populations and types of weight-loss diets.

Why long-term weight loss is so hard

The brain’s response to caloric restriction tends to be to increase cravings for foods that are highly rewarding and reducing our perception of being full. 

Diets frequently fail because they have an endpoint and are not a real lifestyle change. Maintaining a lifestyle that promotes a healthy weight and metabolism is often a lifelong journey. 

Maintaining weight loss

The actual food you eat isn’t the main thing that enables you to keep weight off.

Maintaining a weight-reduced state is a lifelong journey and many dietary approaches can work to facilitate weight loss and keep it off.

Food cues

When we are hungry, the hormone ghrelin stimulates the brain. Our brains pay more attention to cues for unhealthy foods—those which are high in sugar and fat—than healthy foods when we are hungry.&...

Forbidden foods are more tempting

Dieting often involves “giving up” more pleasurable foods in an attempt to reduce calorie intake. But if we are asked to avoid eating the food we enjoy, researchers have found that we will crave it.

The behavioral and cognitive response to deprivation may inadvertently be creating more temptation.

The “what-the-hell” effect

A problem with dieting rules is that only a small violation—a sneaky slice of cake, for example—is enough to derail the whole diet. Researchers call this the “what-the-hell effect”. 

Diets that require the dieter to follow rigid rules or forbid them from consuming foods they enjoy appear to be problematic, as they paradoxically increase the risk of overeating.